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I came in this morning, and my computer is showing a large mass of error messages, all related to "Dude, your D: drive is hosed."

A quick trip to DoIT for a new 1TB drive (which is going to take ~3 hours to format), and I'm back up and running.

I plugged the old drive (a 2yr old WD) and it started clicking, so it's in the fridge cooling down, and when the new drive is done formatting, I'll pull it out and see if anything is recoverable.


Feb. 28th, 2009 02:45 pm
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I'm doing laundry today. I took the second load out of the washer to put it into the dryer, and what do I find in the bottom of the washer?

My 32GB Flash drive.

I can now say that, in addition to everything else Corsair says about their Flash Survivor line of drives, they're also washing machine resistant (even with both the catalyst feature - which pretreats by spinning the laundry while it continuously pumps detergent and water through them - and a second rinse selected).
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Haven't done a lot today. Did a couple loads of laundry, cleaned up under the bird feeders (we have very messy birds). Shortly after lunch, I started making bread.

My bread book says this is pain à l'ancienne (country-style French "old dough" starter - pâte fermentée - bread), but baked in the style of pain de campagne. We've been playing with more"artisan" sorts of bread, and using the bread machine to make dough, but then forming loaves and baking them in the oven. This loaf took 9 hours from when I put the ingredients for the starter into the machine until it came out of the oven. I've got half the starter left, and will make another loaf tomorrow, as the starter doesn't last long.

Finally, someone (and she knows who I mean) pointed out this website, which is (I think) a great way to waste time. I'm currently up to 14x10.


Jan. 16th, 2009 03:39 pm
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Somehow, I'm now an Outlook 2003 expert.

Since I never use it, and only fix it for other people a few times a year, I'm probably doing pretty good.

One of the profs just came in, and his Outlook wasn't sending mail. I had sent him the configuration directions, and he said he'd tried them, and he'd gone over to the helpdesk (who tried for a while, and sent him to me, as I'm officially his tier 2 guy).

I went back through the directions, and then when it didn't work, googled for the problem, and found two answers. The first one was to increase the timeout delay, and the second one was a comment that the test process didn't always work, and we should just send some emails and see what happened. I bumped the delay from 1 minute to 5, and send myself an email, which went through in about 30 seconds.

Then I worked out what his other problem was. He's got two PSTs. It looks like he had a login profile fault, and now has two profiles, but didn't have any of the calendar or contact data from the old one in the new one. I used the brute force, but simple, expediant of exporting the old one and importing it into the new one, and now he's gone away happy, telling everyone that I should get two raises this year.
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I just got an email asking about the directions for making EnginEarings, and realized I still had the old web page for it. It might actually be the first web page I ever made, and was done using WP Internet Publisher 6.1 in 1997 (yes, I took a page I had made in WordPerfect and exported it into HTML, in a process that leaves code almost as clean as what I write now, unlike how MSWord does it)!

Somebody's been making more of them every few years, as the undergrads frequently use them as a fundraiser and take them to one of the national conferences to help offset the trip costs, and they just got a request for the original directions (which include the grain growth process, etching, and anodizing).
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I just got a new USB drive because my old one finally died.

It belongs to work, and it's the drive I normally carry for updating sofware on computers.

In the process, I upgraded to a 32GB Corsair Flash Survivor drive.

The real problem with USB drives of that size is that it takes forever to put all the stuff you want onto the drive.

After 3-4 hours of file copying, I've got about 21GB of stuff on it.
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They finished paving our neighborhood today. Base coat asphalt on Northland, Fulton, and Nancy, and topcoat on all three plus School. The roads really needed it, but it's also nice for them to be done. I'd guess that all the cones and barricades will go away either tonight or tomorrow. One of the neighbors said they were pushing hard to get it done so they didn't have to wait for things to dry out after tonight's predicted rain.

I'm over the swelling and most of the itching from the allergic reaction, now I'm waiting for everything to finish peeling and for the last of the red to go away. We're fairly sure that it was a reaction to something on the celery we bought for the potato soup. I was talking with John at Jim's Meat Market (where we got the Italian sausage), and he says they stopped using celery in everything a while ago. They used to fail a health inspection every year or two, and their health inspector suggested they cut out the celery, as it's apparently a common source of pollutants, including dirt and agricultural chemicals. John says they haven't failed an inspection since (he said it's been 10 years).

The cats spent the day at the vet for teeth cleaning. Jackie had one tooth removed, Marley had one canine and three other teeth pulled. The vet's pretty sure that Marley's weight loss is related to the dental problems. [ profile] teeka got home with the cats shortly after I got home, and we shouldn't laugh, but Marley was frantically throwing food around because her mouth was still numb while she was trying to eat something (anything? everything? whatever a starving kitty needs!).

Yesterday I rebuilt my mother-in-law's computer. Her old one stopped working while they were trying to figure out what she'd need to do to run Adobe CS3, so they decided that it was time to upgrade. I picked a kit from Tiger Direct, and they went from a 3GHz Celeron with 512MB or RAM to a 2.2GHz Dual Core with 2GB. I built the new machine a couple weeks ago and swapped all the drives from the old one to the new one and traded video cards with her (I had a PCI-E/16 card and both AGP and PCI-E/16 slots, she had an AGP card in the old machine and a PCI-E/16 slot in the new machine, and both cards were similar quality), booted it up, and then went away while it figured out what drivers needed to be installed. Told it to cancel all it's install attempts, ran the driver disk, downloaded the video card drivers, a couple passes through Windows Update, and then boxed the new machine up to go back home.

I'm probably going to use the old machine and some of the accumulated other parts from home to upgrade Teeka's desktop the same way. She'll go from a pIII-900 to the celeron, which should make it a little less frustrating to use.

Anyone want to buy a camper? We've decided that we should try to sell the camper because we really only ever use it one weekend per year, and with ongoing maintenance and what we went through this time to get it hooked up to the truck, it's really not worth it.
revchris: (Default)
For no other reason than "just because," if I replace the black cartridge in the poster printer in my office, the printer will see that it is there but won't actually use the black cartridge unless I unplug the printer for at least 30 minutes before calibrating and aligning the printer.
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We got money from the College this year to do some upgrades in the teaching labs.

one of the projects was a new computer for the xray powder diffraction system. I got all the software installed and then went to set up the machine, only to realize that the old machine has been around just long enough for me to forget that the interface card is a full-size PCI card. Every computer I've got that is newer than the current one doesn't fit the card either because Dell puts stuff in the way whenever they can, or there is a drive cage along the full height of the tower.

I can't replace the card, because I don't know if there's a smaller one, and this one cost $12k, so I don't really have budget for another one. I put the card back into the old computer (a 1.8GHz p4), upgraded the computer from 256MB of memory to 1GB, and then spent yesterday and today upgrading it to WinXP (from 98) and getting everything to work with the network login. Eventually, I may look into a big case and build a new computer.

During this whole process, I decided to use the (planned) new computer to replace the other computer in the lab, which controlled the older xray system. It was a much easier move (so far) than I thought it would be, as the hard drive on the computer I was replacing is dead (no head noise, no platter spinning noises, and a blinky LED on it's circuit board).

The new computer is set up with the analysis software and the search database, and everything there also works with the network, so that's good to go until somebody decides that they need the old machine to work, at which point if I haven't found a backup of the software (completely homemade, no backups in any obvious locations, the old backups probably having been eaten by a drive crash years ago), we'll decide whether we want to have the drive recovered, just scrap the whole works, or see if we can talk the ECE department into making it a senior design project, which is how we got the software in the first place.

During this whole process, I'm also printing posters. One of the grads from E's group emailed me a poster on Tuesday, with a note that there would be a few more for next week's conference. Yesterday I got another one, and today they sent me two more, with a note that there were another two coming. I replied by saying that I only had two or three posters worth of good paper left, so they might have to wait. It turned out that I had three posters worth, plus eleven inches of paper, which is just enough to finish the third poster without tripping the "out of paper" sensor. The guy who was doing the last two posters is willing to have them printed on bright white bond, so they'll get printed in the morning.

This is one of the reasons why work pays DoIT annually to make my email box hold 1GB (instead of the normal 200MB), as each poster arrives as an 8-20MB powerpoint file.

All the poster printing goes into my new hardware fund, and this batch is going to put another flat panel monitor into one of the teaching labs. It takes a conference or two to get anything good, as we basically only charge costs, so a 3'x4' poster costs either $30 or $45 (full-color posters - i.e. backgrounds too - cost more). They don't want me to charge more, and I won't charge less, as this way people think about the costs before they decide whether they're printing every random thing they have or not.

I, of course, get anything I want printed free, but that's the advantage of being the guy with the printer, and of being the guy who sends out the printer bills. Most of what I print out, however, is line art on plain paper (think floor plans and equipment drawings), so nobody really worries about it.

Tomorrow I'm teaching the TA that's going to be running the xray lab next week how the new setup works and I've got a guy from one of the Civil Engineering research groups coming over to use one of the microscopes to take pictures of nanoparticles.

Now, off to think about what to make for dinner, not knowing when [ profile] teeka will be done teaching class.
revchris: (Default)
Every three years at work we run a survey of our alumni. It's become my job for the last two because I'm the only one who's bothered to figure out the UW's web survey tool. Among other things, it means I'm the only one who knows all the names of who answered the questions (we ask, and if they don't want their contact info, I strip it off the data).

I just closed the survey and then spent the morning cleaning up the output so that it has the right column headings (all 400 of them). I'm currently printing it out to give to my boss. Most of the survey is in 10-point Arial, with some Arial Narrow, and some 8- or 9-point fonts. I decided I was only going to print it onto one page.

This requires printing it at 52% of normal size, and a 36" x 116" page. I really like my poster printer.


Mar. 17th, 2008 12:16 pm
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Taxes are done, e-Filing is successful, returns have been accepted. Barring an audit, we should see our federal return before the end of the month. There are, of course, enough things we'd like to do with the money to spend it four or five times over, but that's normal.

[ profile] teeka messaged me earlier to say she found out why MG&E had been drawing lines all over the neighborhood. They're replacing sacrificial anodes on the underground lines.

I finally got around to googling how to mount NTFS drives as folders, so now all six of the card readers on my work computers are mounted as folders in my C: drive, and I have free drive letters again.

Friday one of the women on the bus declared that my brain scares her. Somehow, we got on the topic of laundry, and one of the other people (Nancy) said that she's got red pants, that, even after four years of washing, still bleed. I told Nancy to look up Dharma Trading, as they're supposed to have some good products to reset dyes. This led to a round of "How do you know that?" followed by the declaration that my brain is scary.
revchris: (Default)
4GB Cruzer Titanium USB drives $19 each

Firefox tip of the day: Clean out the download history. The more files in the history, the longer it will take to save anything (via the save link/picture as... option). It doesn't matter whether you use the download window or an add-on, either, as they all fill the history. It took me a while to find this - My history was full 9as in rolling old files off the bottom full), and clearing the history dropped my Save Picture As... times from 7 seconds to nearly instantaneous.
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I just got a frantic call from one of our undergrads.

The classroom computers don't have a new enough version of Quicktime to let them use the campus cable system (DATN) to watch the Superbowl in one of the classrooms. We don't control the classroom computers, and there's no one in the computer center today who could do an update for them.

They were going to use one of their notebooks, but DATN is firewalled off from the wireless system.

The solution: I have the web address for the DHCP server on my computer, so, from my living room (where I'm playing Civ4 and watching the Superbowl), I set one of their notebooks up to use the wired ethernet, and, a reboot later, they've decided they really owe me, as the game is now coming in over both projectors in the big classroom.
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According to Channel3000, the world might end on Sunday (if the Packers lose?), as there is no weather on Monday )


Jan. 11th, 2008 10:40 am
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I've been working on a new setting up a new notebook for one of the profs. I get to play with Vista, which really hasn't been a problem.

For the past two days, however, I've been (unfortunately) winning a game of "stump the techs" with the tier 2/3 people at CAE. Their Novell servers now allow connection via UNC path, without needing the Novell client installed. It's not working on either of my notebooks (XP and Vista) or with either of the accounts I tried.

Today I took the Vista notebook over there and they tried everything they normally do, and it didn't work for them, either. Eventually we discovered that, of the 6 user directory servers, it works on the one that the CAE staff use but not on the one that I'm on. I'm now "officially vindicated" for not knowing what was wrong or fixing it myself, and the server guy has been notified that it's now his problem.
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Apparently the problem I was having yesterday where my disk swap was bogging down my computer was caused by the two disks mutually killing each other, and causing my computer to use 50-60% of it's processing power to deal with hardware interrupts.

One of the drives gives SMART errors ("One of the parameters exceeds allowed values"), had been replaced previously, and is no longer in warranty, so it's going to become refrigerator magnets. The other one doesn't give any error messages, but since it prevents my computer from booting into Windows, it will be going back to Seagate for replacement.

Now all I've got to do is finish rebuilding my backups (on yet another new drive). 30GB copied so far, another 90GB yet to go.
revchris: (Default)
I just installed a third hard drive, and am rearranging things.

I have a 250GB C: drive, where windows and all the apps live. I added a 500GB drive, and moved it to D:, after moving the old 150GB D: drive to J: (where the open drive letters are) first. Now I'm copying (via xcopy) everything from J: to D:.

The MP3s playing on Winamp (from the C: drive) noticeably slow down when I start the xcopy. If I stop the copy, they speed back up. I set Winamp to have "Above Normal" priority, but that doesn't change it. Really, it sounds just like what happens if you play a record at a slower speed (ie - playing a 45 at 33rpm).


Oct. 15th, 2007 04:22 pm
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Earlier this afternoon I started installing Windows on one of the new computers I just ogt (as kits from TigerDirect). When I came back from running an errand, it had shut down. Restarting it, it had a CPU overtemp error.

It works much better when you remember to plug in the CPU fan. When I turned it back on the onboard thermal sensor said 55C (it rapidly cooled back down into the low 30s).
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I was working in the microscopy lab today doing software updates (LabView 8.2.1 via the online installer is really slloooowwwww), and had been in there for about threee hours when the class I was trying to get everything ready for came in.

They were doing data analysis on last week's lab, and today's project was to calculate the Weibull Modulus from their data. Paul (the prof) explained how it was done, and then gave them the necessary equations, and sent most of them off to the other computer lab (because I was still using 9 of the 11 computers in the room).

As they were about to leave, I asked Paul if he'd explained why the Weibull Modulus was only used on data with minor oscillations and a general positive trend. Paul looked back at me with sort of a "deer in the headlights" look.

At which point I said "Well, we all know that Weibulls wobble, but they don't fall down." Paul left the room, and the rest of the undergrads decided that that was a good enough line that they should write it down and use it again later.


Sep. 28th, 2007 04:12 pm
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One of the TAs just told me that one of the microscope compouters is down. It's been down for at least a month, but he just realized he should tell me.

The CPU fan is dead, so I'm pitching the computer and replacing it.

The old computer is a ~8-year-old pIII 800MHz machine with 512MB ram. The replacement will be a 4-year-old p4 3.0GHz machine with 2GB of ram and a video card that actually works (the old computer also has video problems).

It will, however, take a day or two to get the new computer set up. But, they don't ahve class until Wednesday, so that shouldn't be a problem.


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